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Steal This Book

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  2,730 ratings  ·  191 reviews
A driving force behind the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Hoffman inspired a generation to challenge the status quo. Meant as a practical guide for the aspiring hippie, Steal This Book captures Hoffman's puckish tone and became a cult classic with over 200,000 copies sold. Outrageously illustrated by R. Crumb, it nevertheless conveys a serious message to all wou ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 25th 2002 by Da Capo Press (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,730 ratings  ·  191 reviews


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P
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
What the fuck is Abbie Hoffman's problem? This book reads like the left's version of that smug nihilistic libertarian dick. You know the guy who considers not going out of his way to help his fellow man is somehow proof of intelligence, because he saves a small amount of money/time/energy, and knows the rest of humanity will always be there to help him out, the saps.

Number one: If you're going to lead a proletarian revolution led largely by comfortable, middle class white kids, maybe don't run y
...more
Jamie
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny
I read this book (in it's online format) in high school. It amused the hell out of me as a history book, seeing how easy it used to be to steal anything you needed. It taught me to understand anarchy as a philosophy, rather than a symbol that punks saftey-pinned onto their jackets. I thought Abbie Hoffman was Robin Hood.

But later in life, I did some research on Abbie Hoffman. He's basically a sociopath. He didn't exactly come up with the material in the book on his own, so much as he joined up w
...more
Misti Rainwater-Lites
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I actually stole this book from a used bookstore in Kerrville, Texas. I got a lot of good yet useless (I tried 'em, they did not work) ideas on anarchy and how to score free stuff. All in all, an enjoyable read. How can I complain? Didn't cost a dime.
Jeanette (Again)
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Susie Stoner, Freddy Freeloader, Acid Alice
No, I didn't. Steal the book, that is. I'd make a lousy anarchist.

File this one in your mental "look-but-don't-read" category. Abbie Hoffman wrote Steal This Book while incarcerated. This fact alone should have served as a warning to anyone planning to try the scams and swindles he encouraged. I read the first 95 pages in earnest, then just skipped through the rest of the book to get a general feel for the ideas he was promoting.

Supporters called this book "an instruction manual for radical soc
...more
Jim
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I was a teenager, I went into the respectable little bookstore in my respectable little town and asked "Do you have a copy of Steal This Book?" The respectable librarianesque owner looked over the top of her reading-glasses-on-a-chain and dryly replied, "We don't sell those kinds of books here."

"What kind of books?" I asked, with much surprise bouncing through my Colombian gold-addled mind.

Again, she peered down her nose and said, "We don't sell anti-social, anti-establishment books." And s
...more
Jon Boorstin
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the best title ever for a non-fiction book. This is a self-liberation manual. Full of practical advice. How to use a penny for a nickel in a pay phone, for instance. All of it now an intoxicating trip into the Hippie past. My copy is highlighted. I read it when I could actually use the info. But I don't think I actually used any of it, except the address of the Berkeley Free Clinic. The info wasn't really the point. Hoffman was propagating a state of mind: an attitude toward authority, a ...more
Ryan Lawson
Oct 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not a soul
Recommended to Ryan by: nobody

Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book
Wk.28; Bk.28

First off, congratulations to Desmond Morris and his crap book, The Naked Ape because as of November 03, 2008 Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book is now the absolute worst crap I have read thus far (book wise) in my entire life. I've thought about this proclamation long and hard.

"Surely," I said to myself, "this isn't the worst book that you ever read..."

Then, I thought some more and couldn't deny that all sources pointed toward "yes!"

Let's forget about t
...more
Xenophon Hendrix
Feb 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Steal This Book is a self-righteous manual about theft, vandalism, exploitation of the charitable, and even murder. When I read this book out of curiosity, I found the author's intolerance, hatred, arrogance, and ignorance nauseating. It revolted me that such a self-revealed monster as Abbie Hoffman was ever taken seriously by the counterculture of the United States. Fortunately, many of the techniques described are now obsolete.

Be aware that I am not merely disagreeing with the author's politic
...more
Laura
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hippies, wanna-be hippies, radicals, 60's history buffs
This book freaking RULES. Why, oh why did the sixties have to end?*

(*because of Kent State, Altamont, Heroin, and to make way for disco, silly!)
Outoftunetoo
Aug 12, 2008 rated it liked it
My mom didn't like that I was reading this one because of the ways it taught you how to steal, and the cynical view of the government, but I think it served a purpose at the time. More of a hippie history book than anything.
Jesse
Dec 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: children
I was an elementary school-aged kid when I first saw this book at a neighbor's house, sitting on the kitchen table. It had such an interesting title that I flipped through it and saw the illustration of the shoplifter in the trench coat. It was a revelation: You don't have to pay for stuff you take from the store! This idea pushed me down a slippery slope of price-tag switching, shoplifting, scams, sabotage, shooting heroin into your eyeballs, and worshipping Satan. Just kidding. It made me into ...more
Meaghan
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio
I used to have a copy of this, but, surprise! Someone stole it. Fair enough, I shoplifted it from Annie's Book Swap in the first place. Not only is this a great slice of life of the radical 60s, I learned a lot, from early bulletin boards (there was one in Beverly, MA! My hometown was in this book!), to protecting myself in a riot, to using pressure points to take down an attacker, to making bombs from styrofoam cups, to making free calls from a payphone. As a bonus, Abbie Hoffman comes across a ...more
Christy Stewart
The book is out-dated but the philosophy is and always will be applicable.

At times I would smile to myself while fondly thinking of how technology has made things so much easier to steal, but in reading some sections it becomes glaringly obvious how technology has made it so much harder to rip some industries off.

I also learned to always wear a helmet and a gas mask.

And that if I'm getting rapped to yell "I have VD!"
Derrick
Sorely out of date due to changes in technology, security, and culture. Still a fascinating time capsule, and Hoffman's heart is in the right place if one's curious about radical politics.

In a lot of ways, our society is more controlling and oppressive than in the '70s. (A number of actions described in the book would get one prosecuted for terrorism today, for instance.) It leaves the reader a lot to think about, even if the techniques herein would no longer be possible.
Carl Mayo
Jun 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
'Steal this Book' is a rambling tirade about class envy and hatred of the rich. (I knew this before, but reading it only confirmed it.)
Abbie Hoffman is a consummate hypocrite, writing an entire tome about how rotten capitalism is, while enjoying the benefits of capitalism.
He includes methods for ripping off stores, stowing away on public transportation for free rides, and even how to scam pay phones for free calls.

So --- why did I read it?
Because this book gives you amazing insight into the m
...more
Mykle
Apr 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anarchists, wal-mart employees
I read this in the UC Santa Cruz library, in a special 'rare book area' that i couldn't get out of, with a librarian sitting at a desk behind me watching very closely. I had to submit to a search of my backpack before and after reading.

I hope that Vol. II can give me some pointers on how to steal Vol. I from the UC Santa Cruz library.
Jonathan Eunice
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I'm re-reading this book, which reeks of early 1970s hippie fuck-The-Man counter-culturalism, in 2010. It's a trip. You're supposed to steal everything you can, of course. Most impressively, he also encourages you to skyjack commercial aircraft, for example with a knife or fake explosives, and fly off to friendly countries. (p. 39) Uh huh.

What, exactly, was this dude smoking?!
Todd
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like an unearthed copy of 'The Occupy Movement Handbook 1.0', this is a primer on getting by without giving in to 'the man'.

(There are major differences; this book is a broad and deep argument that justifies theft of all kinds for the purpose of getting by outside the system, while the current occupy movement is considerably more scrupulous, and possibly quite a bit more world-wise.)

The most interesting things about this book: 1.) Abbie Hoffman's style was always good, and it is both good, and a
...more
Sister Dharma Gettin'
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me survive while I was homeless. Some of the information is a little outdated what with all the advancements in technology since the 1970's, but there's still much to learn from reading Steal This Book and it's easy to adapt the info to your current situation.

The main takeaway, I believe, is that Corporate America is out for themselves alone and they will do whatever they can to put profits before actual people. But, as this book explains, there are always ways to beat them at
...more
Kirk
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I give it five stars, I should probably add that that is from the viewpoint of an 18-year-old who grew up thinking he'd be drafted to go to Viet Nam and was still P.O.'d that he'd been too young to go to Woodstock. Mainstream America didn't look that good from there! Hoffman was brilliant and hid his mental illness as eccentricity. This book cracked me up and had dozens of tips on how to do things that I was way too square to try but young enough to fantasize about doing--and being a chemis ...more
Jamie
Apr 19, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Crooks
I got this book because I was curious, but I ended up disappointed. I thought it would be full of cool little underground tips for getting by in society, but its just full of out of date ways to steal; ie, How to defraud the welfare office, make a pipe bomb, steal from a payphone...
Not worth reading.
skylar
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
outdated but interesting as fuck! it’s captivating to see how revolutionaries existed in the 60s/70s, you can draw so many dope comparisons. the ideas are still extremely relevant which is slightly depressing to think about but just very intriguing overall. the illustrations and captions are cool as well, the one i can’t stop thinking about is “the only dope worth shooting is richard nixon”.. amazing
Ben Arzate
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The majority of the information is out of date. However, it's still a somewhat useful reference. Plus, it's entertaining to read and works well as a time capsule of the counterculture of the 60's - 70's.
Keith Huddleston
Apr 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
I scanned it, and that's probably the only way for new audiences to read it. Most of the information is horribly dated. . . and just horrible.

There are frequent incitements to violence and indiscriminate mayhem. One example is to rewire your phone to a more powerful source to blow out the phone lines. Why would this be a good idea?
The book doesn't say. Then, I think totally non-ironically, it says to CALL the phone company to get your free new phone like everyone else.

Peter Coyote and many o
...more
Rollin
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sardonic and scathing.

Borrowed this book from the library. Hoffman at the same time evangelizes his radicalism while cognizant of different folks' capacities in social movements. Reading it as a historical text is utterly fascinating in learning out-of-date scams of getting free airline tickets and setting up actual printing presses. Though many of Hoffman's tips and tricks are antiquated, his spirit is not.
Emily
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This seemed like a book that I should have read, just because of its role in history. It began with some radical content, discussing how to survive on very little money, and the theory behind this. I enjoy reading of the schemes and scams he proposes, but I have ethical conflicts with their being carried out. Hoffman provides great resources such as inexpensive simple recipes, and lists of organizations and societies that may or may not be outdated. Some of what he suggests has been nullified by ...more
Piper Hale
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book is a snapshot of a cultural segment in American history, but that's the extent of its value. Of course, the 1960s counter-culture movement had a lot to offer, but I suppose every movement has its extremist segment.

In general, I dislike the writings of people coming from well-off backgrounds (like Abbie Hoffman's comfortably middle-class family) who fetishize poverty and "the virtuous poor" because they've never had to suffer from genuine want. I begin to dislike the writers themselves w
...more
Hatuxka
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember in 1971 taking this book up to the counter at the Tower Books Watt Avenue (what a beautiful jumble of a bookstore!) when it was right beside Tower Records in Sacramento and having the clerk say with evident disappointment, "you're gonna BUY this book?" Everyone read this book. I thought this was G-D funny and enlightening at the time, but I remember nothing now of substance of what was in it, except stuff like how to live off the grid or on nothing a day or to empty every last bit of ...more
Benjamin
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Man, I loved this book when I read it. I was around 20, and even though most of the advice was obsolete (and more was becoming obsolete--subway tokens and old-school turnstiles were on their way out for the MBTA the year I got this book), the very idea of someone compiling advice on how to scam a little bit of everything for free was very powerful.

I put this in a lending library my roommates and I kept in a spare room and, ironically, it was the only book that was never returned! I hope the new
...more
Tamora Pierce
Oct 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: students of the 1960s, fans of Hoffman's later writing
I read this in high school. Some of Hoffman's points struck me as plain silly, but I thought he had a lot to say about commercial values in the 1960s and about the way politics and political machines were being turned on younger leftists and protestors at the time.
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Abbott Howard "Abbie" Hoffman was a social and political activist in the United States who co-founded the Youth International Party ("Yippies"). Later he became a fugitive from the law, who lived under an alias following a conviction for dealing cocaine.

Hoffman was arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in protests that led to violent confrontations with pol
...more

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“Usually when you ask somebody in college why they are there, they'll tell you it's to get an education. The truth of it is, they are there to get the degree so that they can get ahead in the rat race. Too many college radicals are two-timing punks. The only reason you should be in college is to destroy it.” 68 likes
“The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it.” 43 likes
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